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Academy at Swift River

Therapeutic Boarding School

Academy at Swift River Program Information

Gender: Coeducational
Ages: 14 to 18
Grades: 9 to 12
Estimated Enrollment: 107
Length of Stay:
Program was founded in: 1997
Accreditations: Affiliations:

Academy at Swift River Contact Information

151 South Street
Cummington, MA 01026
Phone: (800) 258-1770
Fax: (413) 634-5300
School Contact: Rhonda Papallo, CTRS
Alternative Contact: Frank Bartolomeo, Ph.D.
Therapy Provided?: Yes

Program Description:

The Academy at Swift River is 20 miles from the Five College Area: The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Smith College, Mount Holyoke, Amherst College and Hampshire College.

In the Pioneer Valley, The Berkshires are also home to Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, The Berkshire Theater Festival, The Williamstown Theater Festival, The Clark Art Museum, The Norman Rockwell Museum and the Shaker Village. Having these cultural resources all within 30 minutes of the school provides endless opportunities for students and faculty.

Located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, the patience and inspiration of nature surrounds our students. Six hundred and thirty acres of mixed forest, meadows, beaver ponds and mountain streams are crossed by miles of marked trails. A connected campus, where students walk from one building to another, helps to reinforce the variety and wholeness of the experience. From the soaring barn-like ceilings of our library to our modern fitness center and art and music studios, we offer students a state-of-the-art campus built upon 200 years of history.

We feel very privileged that you are considering our therapeutic boarding school as a place where your child - and your family, can begin the process of a New Beginning. Our professional staff of residential mentors, clinical counselors, teachers, and support services staff are here for one reason: To help teens to get back on track by restoring relationships and rediscovering academic success, and to prepare them for the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood.

Should you select ASR for your family, over the next 12-20 months or so, you will be challenged to examine your possible contributions to your child's difficulties. Our program is designed to build upon the therapeutic wilderness experience and/or prior treatment success as well as delve into areas that perhaps were not addressed or were only recently identified before coming to ASR.

Our master's level clinical counselors will work with you and your child and will serve as your primary point of contact at ASR. Within the first week of enrollment, one of these professionals will contact you to set up regular, weekly communication. They will also be the ones conducting the weekly individual sessions with your child and will organize the family Working Visits.

The Working Visits - the first being scheduled after your child completes the Pathways transition phase of our program (within 4 to 6 weeks of enrollment) - are geared toward setting goals, clarifying expectations, and identifying those issues with which our families typically struggle. In addition to these flexible opportunities for family work, we also offer our new Parent Orientation Seminars (scheduled after the Working Visit) and Team Parent Workshops (scheduled approximately every 5 months). Please see the schedule on Parent Check-in for your child's upcoming Team Parent Workshops.

Physical outlets are very important for adolescents and we provide them with many opportunities for physical activity. Sports are offered to students throughout the week, with a requirement of athletic participation twice per week. We offer soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball, flag football, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, yoga, martial arts, horseback riding and our skate park. Students can choose which activity they want to participate in and can make other suggestions as well. We also open our Arts and Activities Building, which houses a basketball court and full weight room, during study halls so that students who have completed all homework can choose to exercise. Our weight room features brand new, state of the art Cybex equipment, including a full range of resistance training equipment, treadmills, and elliptical machines.

It is during adolescence that people begin to develop their spirituality, and we consider this an important aspect of our work with our students. We define spirituality as "one's connection with other people and with the world." We end each evening with "closings," during which students and staff can choose to speak to the community about something meaningful to them. Often our meetings include discussions of world events and themes such as compassion, integrity, and awareness.

Religion is also valued at ASR and we try to provide our diverse community with opportunities to go to church and synagogue during holidays, as well as meeting other religious needs.

We at the Academy at Swift River strive to provide a smooth transition to home, high school, college, boarding school, or interim program, to optimize our students' chances for long-term success through the development of a Transition Care Plan. Based upon Aspen Education Group's best practices guidelines, Academy at Swift River will develop a transitional care plan prior to completion of our program. Furthermore, our Alumni & Transitional Care Coordinator (ATCC) will continue the relationship with ASR by providing support and coaching to fulfill and maintain the transition care plan.

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